In keeping with the spirit of the document ‘Dominus Iesus’ the following valid apostolic succession, as traced from the Assyrian Church of the East and the ancient Mar Thoma Church of India, is provided below for the Most Reverend Robert W. Burgess, Jr.
Church of the East Apostolic Succession of Mar Yokhannan, The Most Reverend John M. Stanley,
and Mar Khananishu, The Most Reverend Robert W. Burgess, Jr. (Successor)
33-73 AD Tooma Shlikha (Thomas, Apostle)
The Apostle Thomas established churches in Mesopotamia and Persia then went on to India where, having established several churches, he was martyred by being run through with a spear while in prayer. This occurred on a high hill outside Mylapore near Madras. According to ancient tradition, he sold himself as a slave to the master of a ship. In this way, serving as ship's carpenter, he was able to reach southern India. It may have been that he went as a slave of Jesus, responding to a call from India for carpenters. It is known that around this time, Greek carpenters were held in high regard by Indian rulers and many made their way there. There are two ancient traditions about where Thomas went in India. One has him travelling to the north, the Punjab, and preaching to Gundaphar, king of all northern India. The other has him traveling in the south and establishing seven churches in the area of Cochin and Madras. There remains a Christian community in the Cochin area that, to this day, looks back to Thomas. Neither tradition is impossible. In recent years the previously unknown Gundaphar has become known to history as a great king living at precisely the time and place of the tradition. It is also possible that both are true and that Thomas traveled in both areas. His arrival in India was probably sometime from AD 50 to 52.
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